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Conference Hopping: CCI Zambia Attends the Zambia Institute of Planners and the Zambia Institute of Architects Conferences

CCI Zambia has been busy engaging key stakeholders, and getting invited to speak at both the Zambia Institute of Planners and the Zambia Institute of Architects annual conferences.

CCI Zambia has been busy engaging key stakeholders, and getting invited to speak at both the Zambia Institute of Planners and the Zambia Institute of Architects annual conferences. Of course, we had to attend both to further interact with the two significant bodies essential to our work in Zambia, but we ran into a slight problem. The two conferences were on the same days, and in different cities. It’s a 9-hour drive from Lusaka to Livingstone or an hour plane ride. I have done the drive down to Livingstone a couple of times, and although the road infrastructure is not inadequate, buses never leave or arrive on time, and we needed to get there fast. Yes, we opted for the plane.

National Planning Conference 

Organizer: Zambia Institute of Planners

Location: Mulungushi International Conference Centre, Lusaka, Zambia

We set up our booth near the entrance of the Mulungushi Conference Center and interacted with the institute planners and other stakeholders in the planning process. At our booth, we interacted with various stakeholders and planners from all over the country, including Lusaka City Council and Kitwe City Council. We talked about Zambia’s different urban planning challenges; the need for productive labor markets or productive agglomerations, informality in cities, and urban service delivery.  We discussed how charter cities could be part of solutions through innovative governance models, job creation, and attracting investment. We also discussed CCI’s ongoing work with various government bodies, including the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, among others, on advancing charter cities as a development model. 

Below: Various pictures of the CCI booth at the ZIP National Planning conference interacting with delegates, spreading the CCI message, meeting old friends, and making new ones. 

Sylvia Kasungami Masabo gave the day’s keynote speech from the Zambia Institute of Planners and Senior Planner of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. Sylvia is a good friend of everyone at CCI who helped with the Cairo Road: Urbanism and Architecture publication. Sylvia gave the keynote speech “Enhancing Integrated Development Planning to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals,” an eye-opening talk on localizing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Zambia and how close Zambia is to implementing them. Zambia has a long way to go with the SDGs. However, governments are very aware of them. They are included in the National Development Plan and the local Integrated Development Plans (IDPs); both plans govern development and planning in Zambia. As charter cities aim to reduce poverty through inclusive growth made possible by good planning, the SDGs implementation talk was closely linked to our work. The speech was followed by remarks from the Zambia Institute of Planners, Mr. Busiku Sulwe, to welcome everyone. Her Worship Chilando Chitangala, Mayor of Lusaka, gave remarks on the importance of planning in driving economic growth. Statements from representatives from The Ministry of Local Government and the ministry of finance followed. 

The conference covered various topics: IMF Deal and its Implications, National Land Policy, Sustainable Resettlement Programme, National Housing Policy Update, and Experiences on Decentralization Implementation from GIZ, USAID, and different organizations operating in Zambia. Topics also included; Planning for Health and Resilience, Experiences in Industrial Yards and Multi-Facility Economic Zones From Lusaka MPHEZ, and Climate Change. 

Lusaka’s Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZ) gave a good example of what good planning and decentralized governance can do to zones. Their plans for residential components gave hope for the growth of those zones and their ability to attract residents and investments. The conversations on climate change highlighted Zambian cities’ variabilities to floods, drought and the need to plan for those changes. The conversation got a little heated around the IMF deal and how it will affect planning but that’s a post in itself. 

Above: Mwanda's talk on Unlocking Investment and Economic Potential of Local Areas panel

Mwanda Phiri, CCI’s Africa Lead, was invited to sit on a panel discussing “Unlocking Investment and Economic Potential of Local Areas.” Mwanda gave her input on attracting investments in new cities and expanding on local economic development. Mwanda also addressed the potential of SEZs and devolved urban authority in implanting reforms, attracting investments, and fostering a competitive business environment.  

Mwanda discussed the example of Shenzhen and how the city could attract investments and grow significantly through innovation in governance and good planning. She also went into detail on how such a model can be adopted; through private-public partnerships where the public sector ensures the public right in the project and the private sector helps in infrastructure and initial capital. Many successful projects in Zambia have already adopted the model, including East Park Mall in Lusaka. The model can also be adopted through the existing MFEZ laws allowing more decentralized authorities. Mwanda also elaborated on the importance of good governance and decentralized authorities as a tool to attract investments. 


International Planning Conference 

Organizer: Zambia Institute of Architects

Location: Avani Conference Facilities, Livingstone, Zambia 

We flew to the Zambia Institute of Architects International Architecture Conference in Livingstone. The CCI team was invited to give a talk on our newest initiative, the Lusaka Urban Lab (LUL), and its latest project Cairo Road: Architecture and Urbanism. The conference had architects from all over the country and researchers presenting their ongoing research and work. Besides the talks, papers, and project presentations. The conference also put all the architecture expertise in attendance to work and conducted a design studio between sessions. The design studio aimed at finding solutions to some of Livingstone’s urban problems; designing a new bus station for Livingstone and finding a more durable solution.

Above: CCI's Heba Elhanafy participation in ZIA's conference design studio

I rant almost daily about the problems of whatever city I am in; currently based in Lusaka, I rant twice every day. Lusaka and Zambia, in general, have many urban issues that need to be addressed, from infrastructure provision to service delivery to informal settlement development. Attending the ZIA and ZIP conferences was a great way to be introduced to more of Zambia’s urban and architectural challenges. The feedback on Charter Cities Institute’s work is always positive, with a hint of how important and timely it is for Zambia and, of course, questions on the possibility of implementing such a model in Zambia. 

CCI’s participation in the two conferences was a success, sharing different aspects of our work with the architects and planners of Zambia, who are both essential to our mission here. Learning about other organizations’ work and aspirations was also inspirational and educational. The team has established connections with key stakeholders in the two conferences and aims to follow up with them in the next weeks to form new collaborations. The team got good feedback on our work, with many organizations, local city councils, and individuals interested in learning more. 

Above: CCI's Heba Elhanafy presentation on Lusaka Urban Lab and Cairo Road project

CCI’s urban researcher Heba Elhanafy talked about the Lusaka Urban Lab initiative and its upcoming activities like “Walking the Unwalkable”, an initiative that aims to promote walking in the city, and “Building Out Not Up”, a research project investigating sprawl in the city. She also addressed the importance of creative approaches to promote architecture heritage, often neglected in the city, start urban conversations and commodify architecture for public goods. Heba also elaborated on LUL’s first project Cairo Road: Architecture and Urbanism. Topics included the process of documenting history, the challenges of such a project, and the importance of stakeholders’ engagement to actualize success. Heba extended an invitation for interested organizations and individuals to get involved with LUL projects. 

The feedback we got from ZIA members was phenomenal, with a lot of meetings already being set up in December to expand on LUL’s work and see how to form collaborations in the future. We have also been invited to an afternoon tea to talk about the history of more buildings. Mr. Anderson Zulu from the National Housing Authority (NHA), which is currently operating Findeco House (one of the buildings covered in the Cairo Road publication) loved the work we did so much that he will try to have the Cairo Road publication on the new NHA website.

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November 16-18, 2023 | Kigali, Rwanda


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